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6 advisers with $450M in combined AUM join Benjamin Edwards

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Advisers with $450 million in combined assets joined Benjamin Edwards as the regional firm continues on an expansion plan, according to a spokeswoman.

The regional brokerage also opened three new offices. Two are in New Hampshire in Concord and Laconia, and the third in Sugar Grove, Illinois.

With these, the St. Louis-based Benjamin Edwards now boasts 59 offices across 25 states, including three in New Hampshire and 11 in Illinois, the spokeswoman said.

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Bill Kearney, Robert Gile and Greg Zini make up the advisory force of the new Concord office. Kearney, an industry veteran with 34 years of experience, will serve as branch manager, according to the firm. Gile is also a veteran who has worked in the industry for 46 years.

Joining the team is Lois Parker, who will help with client services as operations manager. All four moved to Benjamin Edwards from Wedbush Securities, according to the company. Prior to Wedbush, Kearney and Gile both worked at Wells Fargo and its premerger firm A.G. Edwards.

Richard Breton, who opened the Laconia office for Benjamin Edwards, followed a similar career path. He got his start in 1996 at A.G. Edwards, and stayed with the firm through its acquisition by Wachovia, which was in turn acquired by Wells Fargo. He later moved to Wedbush in 2011 before joining Benjamin Edwards.

Wedbush could not immediately be reached for comment.

The new Sugar Grove office is headed by Kevin Skogsberg. He joined Benjamin Edwards in September and is transferring from its LaSalle-Peru, Illinois, office. Skogsberg has 37 years of experience, FINRA BrokerCheck records show, and was previously at Stifel, Wells Fargo and A.G. Edwards.

In addition to the new offices, the eight-year-old firm also snapped up two advisers for an existing branch in Mandeville, Louisiana.

Advisers Rick Danielson and Douglas Tate joined the firm from Merrill Lynch, where they started their careers in 2005 and 2011, respectively, BrokerCheck records show. Danielson specializes in retirement planning and retirement income preservation, while Tate concentrates on business owner services and wealth management, according to Benjamin Edwards.

The Mandeville office, which opened in 2013, now has nine advisers and two support staff, the firm says.

A Merrill Lynch spokeswoman confirmed the departure of Danielson and Tate but declined to comment.

The new crop of advisers is “talented” and shares the firm’s “client-first approach” to providing financial services, says Marty Altenberger, senior vice president and director of branches. The absence of corporate mandates and sales quotas, he adds, has also proven “especially appealing to advisers and investors.”

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